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Torpids 2011

February 25, 2011 in Torpids 2011, Web Officer's Blog

Most of you will know Torpids starts next Wednesday. I’m looking for volunteers to help keep the website up to date during this period. Remember, anyone can post on the website by logging in. You can email entries to the blog to, attaching photos if you wish. If you have and iPhone, Android or Windows Phone 7 phone there are apps available in the various market places: just search for the WordPress app.

Remember also that the website’s content is linked with the Facebook Page. If you upload photos to our wall, they will also be viewable here.

Contributing to

November 22, 2010 in BCBC Users, Web Officer's Blog

I am currently trying to boost the involvement of our members with the website. To that end I will shortly give everyone with a user account the “Contributor” status. This means that everyone will be able to write content for the site via the web interface. When you log in you will now see a menu item in the right hand sidebar allowing you to write a new post.

To avoid spam however, your content won’t be published until it has been reviewed by a moderator (currently only me). If your content is particularly interesting I will upgrade people to the status of “Author” so that they don’t have to go through the moderation process each time they post.

Crew Database

October 5, 2010 in John Blacker Society, Web Officer's Blog

If you’ve been to the crew database section of the website recently you’ll have noticed some changes. We now have bumps records going back until 1980 for both Men’s and Women’s Crews in Torpids and Summer VIIIs. We are now working on getting the names for everyone in these crews; this is mostly complete but unfortunately the bumps programmes often contain first initials only and so we are trying to find full names by matching data up with that from the Balliol Register.

We’ve also added a new Statistics page containing statistics for all the rowers that we have data for.

My Friend Trevor

February 27, 2010 in John Blacker Society, Web Officer's Blog

The Trevor Gallaher

Victor Christou naming the Trevor Gallaher

In his will the late Trevor Gallaher (1947), who died in 2001, left over £14,000 towards the purchase of a new boat for the Men’s 1st VIII. A boat was ordered from the world class German boat makers Empacher in early summer 2003 to replace the eight year old Aylings ‘King Olav.’

‘Trevor’s’ first foray into Oxford rowing, wasn’t all that successful. The 2003 1st VIII were bumped on four consecutive days to end up ninth in Division 1. After a brief retirement for Torpids 2004, the boat was used full time for both training and racing by the 1st VIII from Eights 2005 until Torpids 2009. During this period Trevor was bumped only once more in the Torpids of 2009 and chalked up a magnificent 23 bumps in total.
I joined Balliol in 2003, having never rowed before. After an initial year in the 2nd VIII, I found myself slung into the 1st VIII at six (behind a US Navy Lightweight and a St. Paul’s school boy) for Torpids 2005. That term was the term where I learnt to row and the term where the Trevor Gallaher saw its first real success. We achieved blades, moving up five places and bumping within 30 seconds on three of the days.

The next four two years saw steady success for the Trevor Gallaher. Two bumps in VIIIs 2005, three in Torpids 2006 (very nearly four) and one in VIIIs 2006. My most lasting memory of those two years was our bump that never was against Pembroke, right outside their boathouse in VIIIs 2006.

Bump On Pembroke

The bump that never was.

The following year was a more sedate affair. Most of our top oarsmen had left or otherwise decided not to row, Torpids was cancelled and so we headed into Summer VIIIs 2007 with probably the least experienced, and race prepared crew, I have ever rowed in. However, we held our own and more, thanks to a big Australian and a German with a penchant for snapping oars. After a nervy first day it turned out that we weren’t in fact that bad! We came very close to bumping Pembroke on all of the following three days. Despite the lack of any bumps, everyone in the VIII felt that we had overcome the odds in a boat that was clearly capable of more.

And then came 2008, almost certainly the Trevor Gallaher’s most successful year. We headed into Torpids with the usual nerves but in the knowledge that we had a strong crew. We ended the week, having rowed five times, moving up seven places and into Division 1. The crew was strengthened further for Summer VIIIs with the return of two lightweights from the University squad. I won’t dwell on the events of that week; suffice to say it wouldn’t have been possible with our now trustworthy boat.

Henley Royal Regatta 2008

The Trevor Gallaher at Henley Royal Regatta 2008

As well as success in bumps, the Trevor Gallaher has brought the boatclub other successes. It has competed in the Eights Head of the River, finishing ~150th, won at numerous regattas including Chiswick, Bedford and Marlow, and reached the second day of Henley Royal Regatta.
In summer 2009, the Trevor Gallaher was replaced as the men’s newest boat by the generous gift of the ‘Beeland Rogers’ from Jim Rogers. The new boat is also an Empacher and has already seen success, sadly not in Oxford competitions as yet however.

This year has seen a new look to the men’s boat club; an exodus of experienced and talented rowers and an influx of novices. This has naturally led to the question of what to do with the two high quality boats we have in our possession: do you trust novices to row in a boat which is such a valuable asset?

I remember back to those miserable early morning outings in my first year, rowing in a boat that creaked and groaned and felt like it would fall apart with every stroke (and sometimes did). This year’s 2nd VIII have no such worries. They are now rowing in the Trevor Gallaher, coached by me. After so many happy memories inside the boat it is refreshing to take an outside view with a new generation of Balliol rowers. I don’t know if I’m worse at rowing or coaching (hopefully the former) but I trust that the Trevor Gallaher will bring the 2nd VIII as much success as it has previously the 1st VIII.

Chris Wright (2003)

On the way to Headship

Coming past the boathouses on Saturday of VIIIs 2008

Facebook Integration

February 3, 2010 in Web Officer's Blog

I’ve started to do a bit of Facebook integration with the website. The galleries now contain all the photo albums posted on the Balliol College boat Club fan page. This makes it incredibly easy now for anyone with a Facebook account to share upload photos and for them to appear here.

I’m still working on some other features, but it’s all a bit experimental for now.

Profile photo of Admin

by Admin

WordPress Registration Spam

December 11, 2009 in Web Officer's Blog

We’ve been having some problems with spammers on the site lately. The tips here were useful for a while but didn’t stop all the spam. My latest attempt to foil the evil spammers was to modify the Invisible Defender plugin to work with buddypress; I also improved it slightly by obfuscating the names and values of its hidden fields. The modified version is available here: [download id=”1″].

Profile photo of Admin

by Admin

Crew Lists

October 16, 2009 in Web Officer's Blog

Crew lists are back! Yey! Its taken a while but I think I’ve sorted out all the problems. (If you find something that doesn’t work, please tell me and I’ll try my best to fix it).

To those of you new to, the Crew Lists section of the website contains a database of Balliol crews past and present. furthermore, everyone can contribute. We hope to be able to create a complete history of all Balliol crews. The project is still in its infancy but we’ve already collected information as far back as the 1950s. Please contribute all you know!

Firefox vs. Internet Explorer

October 15, 2009 in Web Officer's Blog

In designing I naturally have to contend with the issue that different users of the site use different web browsers. Internet Explorer is somewhat notorious as being a bit of a rogue among browsers: apparently not displaying pages correctly, being slower, using more computer resources and many other problems. On the other hand, Firefox is the cool hippie browser that all the anti-Microsoft fanboys, and increasingly the general public, love. My personal opinion is that most of these statements are incorrect, particularly if we compare IE8 and Firefox 3. I wouldn’t say that IE8 is perfect but in my experience its much better than Fx 3.

Before I get lynched, I should explain that I live and work with both. At work I have Fx 3 on CentOS. I’m forced to have this combination. If it were possible to have IE8 on a Linux distribution I would jump at the opportunity. Fx 3 has so many bugs and I’ve seen it using almost 1GB of memory. This is because of its over zealous method of caching web pages, apparently a feature. (On a side note, the same people who love Fx for the speed enhancement this caching gives, seem to despise Windows Vista’s indexing because it uses too much memory). This is indefensible, only two years ago did the average desktop have less than 1GB RAM!

I could go on but there’s many a blog article concerning this topic already. I will however leave you with a link to this rather enlightening web page:

Firefox Myths

(You’ll be happy to know, works happily in both IE8 and Fx3. Next week: Is Windows Vista really so bad?).


October 14, 2009 in Captain's Blog, Web Officer's Blog

As much as I don’t see the point of Twitter, I realise that some people love it. So I have set up a Twitter feed; you can follow us at @balliolrowing. It is fully integrated with our blogs so what appears on one will appear on both.

Happy tweeting!

Photo Uploading

October 6, 2009 in Web Officer's Blog

This is just a reminder that everyone can upload photos to our galleries. Click here to go to the upload page. Uploading photos is a three-step process:

  • You will first have to create a gallery, name it what you like.
  • After this, you will be able to add photos to your gallery. If when you’ve uploaded photos a message appears saying the folder has no images, click the Disable Flash Upload button and try uploading your photos again.
  • Finally email to say that you have uploaded photos, this is to ensure the photos are reviewed before they appear on our website.

(I’m sorry that this seems a little complicated, but hey, I’m not Facebook).

Alternatively, you may upload photos on the friends network, these won’t appear on the main website but your friends on the network will be able to view them.